Achilles Tendinitis

Alright everyone, this is Dr. Matthew Toone and Dr. Jordan Brady here with Aspen Ridge Physical Therapy, and today’s condition is going to be an Achilles Tendinitis injury. What is your achilles tendon? This is the large tendon on the back of your ankle. Your ‘calf’ muscle (why do we call it that?) which is a combination of the gastroc and soleus muscles (actually, why do we call them that ???) and those tendons combine and form at the base of the leg at the back of the ankle. This is a condition that develops typically from some overuse where you put excess strain on the tissue and it develops fraying of or inflammation of the tendon.

In our experience, we typically see this develop in someone who is a runner, for example, who all the sudden increase the distance or intensity of training and put excess strain on the tissue. It also frequently happens in middle-aged patients who start a new exercise routine, running program, or sport where they are not conditioned or stretching properly and then with overuse put strain on the tissue.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Achilles Tendinitis?

  • As mentioned above, some sudden increase in intensity or duration of your sport / exercise program
  • Lots of pain and tenderness at the back of the ankle / base of the heel
  • Lots of pain when you dorsiflex your ankle (or bring your toes up to stretch your calf muscles)
  • Typically it starts with pain during activity, and then as the tendonitis increases, pain will happen during and after activity, and then in later stages there will be pain all the time on basic daily movements (walking, stairs, etc.)
  • Very difficult and painful to run, climb, sprint, or even walking
  • Tight calf muscles
  • Flat foot

When our Doctors of Physical Therapy assess someone with posterior heel pain, we try to determine if this is in fact an achilles tendinopathy or some other condition. When it is detected that in fact it is achilles tendinitis, we will create a customized plan or care and exercise program specific to how you present. We will use light therapy to stimulate blood flow, do IASTM to break down adhesions in the tendon, perform soft tissue mobilization, do passive range of motion to increase the extensibility and flexibility of the tissue, and then work on the strength and stability of the ankle. With time, we will create a customized return to sport program to help you get back to what you love – be it running, climbing, sport, etc.

Our doctors of Physical Therapy here at Aspen Ridge Physical Therapy will evaluate your movement and create a customized plan specific to you. We do manual hands on therapy, soft tissue mobilization, pain relieving modalities, and exercises within a pain free range to help you restore your function. We have treated many patients in this situation and are confident we can help you. We treat patients from Davis County and Weber County, and are located in Layton. Call us today with any questions or to set up an appointment. You can reach us at 801-773-1350.